Change Your Thinking: The Alternate Futures Self-Motivation Exercise

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Change your thinking by creating alternate futures for yourself. This simple exercise, using an NLP motivation strategy, can lead to greater motivation in the present.

Much of what we need to do requires intentionally motivating ourselves. The rewards of life don’t just magically appear, in spite of our infantile desires for instant, effortless gratification. You must change your thinking about this.

Positive results require positive effort. Positive effort requires motivation. So, if you’re falling short on self-motivation to do something you’ve been needing to do, you’re at the right post. Here’s how the alternate futures method works to inspire you to get to work producing results.

Here’s what to do to change your thinking, specifically…

1) List the reasons why you want to change.
2) Imagine, in detail, the consequences of not doing so that you will inevitably suffer in the future.
3) Imagine, in detail, the benefits you’ll reap in the future if you do so.

For example:

Losing weight and getting in shape doesn’t just happen because we want it to. Worse, most often we only wish to be in shape and fall far short of pure desire for fitness and health. So, let’s apply the alternate futures process to change your thinking.

Step One: We begin by listing reasons why we want to lose weight:

• More energy
• Better health
• Higher self-esteem
• Relief from back and joint pain

Etc….You can list as many as you can think of.

Step Two: Imagine, in detail, suffering the consequences of not doing what you need to do.

So there you are with diabetic foot ulcers, for example. Or in need of back surgery. No energy and dependent on others to take care of you. Your career might get cut short. Your LIFE will certainly be shortened, leaving behind loved ones that you could have had more time with.

Don’t avoid the possibility of these negative things happening. If you remain unmotivated and don’t change your thinking, these are real possibilities. Face them. Feel them. Move into an imagined future in which these are real. What’s life like for you?

And then clear you head.

Step Three: Imagine, in detail, reaping the future benefits of taking action.

Move into an imaginary future in which you see yourself healthy, full of energy. Tell yourself how happy you are that you are taking care of yourself and feel how that actually feels in your body, right now. Go ahead and imagine a bright, vivacious future with your vibrant health and allow yourself to feel super pleased with this prospect in the here and now.

If this process does what it typically does, then your level of motivation will increase immediately. Your mind and body will respond to the contrast in outcomes. You’ll be more motivated! In fact, it will be impossible not to be more motivated in the moment if you follow these instructions.

So, make a list of what you’re going to do today and get after it. Strike while your iron is hot. Rinse and repeat. Don’t be surprised if you need to do this exercise daily. In fact, I recommend it.

NLP is all about how to change your thinking to become a more intentional being. Motivation Strategies are techniques commonly taught in a NLP Practitioner Training. Our NLP Practitioner Training focuses on real change through understanding ourselves and understanding other better.

People who take an NLP practitioner training find they become better problem solvers, meet their goals quicker, and are able to build stronger relationships.

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About Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.

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